An article by Richard James Rogers
Illustrated by Pop Sutthiya Lertyongphati
Behaviour management is a fine art: It takes years to master, but the basic principles are always there. At its foundation lies good lesson preparation (so that students are fully engaged) and a good student-teacher rapport. However, even with the best of intentions, the most through plans and even time spent getting to know your students well, there can still be occasions when students feel the need to be challenging. The root causes of poor student behaviour are numerous, but good teacher behaviours are always the cure (even if the problem needs to be referred on to someone else, as sometimes it does).
So far we have seen the tremendous effect that the following teacher behaviours have on student engagement:
Taking a genuine interest in your students, using praise and taking time to discover special skills and talents (e.g. artistic abilities). This not only provides students with a sense of validation, but also provides information that you can capitalise on lessons.
Modelling the behaviour of your colleagues, without fear of ridicule or embarrassment. This requires a school ethos of non-judgmental collaboration to work properly. Try observing teachers who teach the same classes as you. Find ‘positive deviants’ and ask them to observe you. Maybe these people can ‘diagnose’ what’s going wrong.
In this next article we will focus on the impact imparted by two key primers:
- Focussing on the work output, not the poor behaviour
- Learning to actually like your students (especially the challenging ones)
The following extracts come from my book, The Quick Guide to Classroom Management. I offer a short summary at the end.
So, to summarise:
- Keep students focused on their work by drawing their attention to it. Encourage them with praise, commenting on how well they have done so far and what they need to do to finish.
- Learn to like your students. Find out about about their hobbies and interests and try to make reference to them in lessons if possible. Be approachable and trustworthy – this always works better than being scary and authoritative.
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